Football: St Michel wins season’s opener again
St Michel edge Lightstars to lift fourteenth president’s cup
The Anse Aux Pins based St Michel won this curtain raiser cup for a record fourteenth time.
Barclays league champions St Michel edged Praslin’s Lightstars 2-1 in the President’s cup to lift their fourteenth cup for the opening season at the Unity Stadium on Saturday.
At the final whistle, Lightstars’ players and coach James Barra were furious with the official Egbert Havelock as they felt he had cost them the match with a couple of decisions. But it was difficult to understand the Intelvision cup winners’ complaints as they shot themselves in the foot in the first half after making a made a bright start. But they failed to take their chances against a St Michel side which was too complacent at times and let in Malagasy Mario Ravo but he was denied by goalie Gino Melanie.
Lightstars also were lucky when their captain Noelson Jeannot went flying into Trevor Poiret and was not even booked for a dangerous tackle which forced the former St Louis midfielder off in the 33rd minute.
Poiret’s replacement Kenner Nourrice proved a master-stroke as he helped his team take the lead in the 41st minute as he stole Fabio Lemiel of the ball to link up with Malagasy Jocelyn Fenosoa.
Jocelyn set up Gervais Waye-Hive who was in acres of space but shot straight at goalie Romeo Barra who surprisingly allowed the ball to slip through his grasp to give St Michel a 1-0 lead.
Even the St Michel manager Andrew Jean-Louis admitted after the match that their opponent had gifted them the first goal before the break.
St Michel stretched their advantage in the first minute after the interval as again Kenner Nourrice lofted a teasing cross and Waye-Hive rifled it into the net to make it 2-0.
Lightstars cut the deficit in the 50th minute as Bertrand Lablache left captain Allen Larue in his wake to pull the ball back to Ravo who hooked it into the net for a 1-2 score.
St Michel though were in control of the match and almost got a third in the 87th minute from a curling freekick by Jocelyn which was met by Neil Confiance who had replaced Waye-Hive. But his header came off the post as Lightstars almost lost their head in the closing minutes as they questioned the official on numerous occasions.
At the end, St Michel celebrated another milestone in their illustrious history as they won a record fourteenth President’s cup despite the absence of Carl Hall, the footballer of the year who is injured.
The St Michel manager told TODAY Sports that his team always had the edge over their opponent and congratulated them on another achievement. first half and was gifted a goal. But we came out with all guns blazing in the second period and was always in control against an opponent who faded in the latter stages and I would like to congratulate my team,” the St Michel manager said.
Lightstars’ captain Malagasy Noelson Jeannot told TODAY Sports after the match that his team felt hard done by the official in this match.
“We felt the official’s judgement affected the match and did not help us morally as he spoilt the game where we had given a good account of ourselves,” captain Jeannot claimed.
The cups and medals were presented to the teams by James Michel the Patron of the Football Federation, the SFF President Mr Elvis Chetty who said that it was an interesting match to kick off the season.
“It was a good start to the season as both teams was very competitive and gave their best. Therefore I would like to congratulate both teams to treat us to a good game,” the SFF President Chetty told TODAY Sports.
The Barclays league kicks off this Thursday in the first round of matches with a complete fixture over the weekend for the twelve teams in the top flight.
Source: Today.sc 3-7-16